In their mission to help speed the cure for cancer, Curebound, the University Towne Centre-headquartered nonprofit, recently awarded 12 collaborative Discovery Grants totaling $3 million.
“We are proud to support the work of these exceptional scientists with our 2022 Discovery Grants,” said Curebound CEO Anne Marbarger.
“Investing in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research is a key component of our mission to accelerate cures for cancer in our lifetime,” Marbarger added. “San Diego is home to a phenomenal life-science community and Curebound is committed to mobilizing these resources to create better options for patients who need them today.”
Curebound, the nonprofit formerly known as Padres Pedal the Cause, is in its second year with its new name. But the organization’s former name still describes the philanthropic group’s largest signature event, which this past April raised an additional $3.2 million for cancer research.
Still, the organization founded in 2013 is involved in much more than its longstanding partnership with the Padres. Later this month, the nonprofit will also be part of The San Diego International Film Festival as it seek to put a spotlight on cancer research being conducted in the region.
Curebound’s current portfolio of grants support research into neuroblastoma, medullabastoma, myelodysplastic syndrome, ovarian cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, pediatric ependymoma and bone metastatic prostate cancer.
The Discovery Grants require collaboration between at least two of the six different San Diego institutions Curebound works with: Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego, The Salk Institute, Rady Children’s Hospital, Sanford Burnham Prebys, La Jolla Institute for Immunology and The Scripps Research Institute.
First-Time Seed Grants
The 2022 grants span research focusing on pediatric cancer; novel approaches and new therapeutics; prevention and diagnostic tools; and immunotherapies and personalized vaccines.
Curebound’s Discovery Grants are first-time seed grants for high-risk, high-reward, collaborative, translational research, where ideas and oncology projects are innovative and in the early phases, and where smaller grants of $250,000 can make a big impact.
The Discovery Grants funding is for one-time grants and are determined and vetted by a competitive peer-review process established by Padres Pedal the Cause and then reviewed and approved by Curebound’s 14-member Scientific Advisory Board before they are implemented by Curebound’s beneficiary institutions.
“I believe that Curebound funding will create transformational change in how cancer is diagnosed and treated, and in the spectrum of patients whose lives will be positively impacted by these,” said Stephen Schoenberger, Ph.D., professor of immunology at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, a recipient of a 2022 Discovery Grant.
“With respect to my team’s cancer vaccine Discovery Award funding, this will allow us to leverage crucial insights gained through our Pedal and IF-funded translational research into what we believe will be a next-generation vaccine capable of inducing more powerful, durable, and effective responses from a patients’ own immune system,” Schoenberger added.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.9 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2022 in the U.S. – where cancer-related deaths are expected to top 600,000.
Curebound has raised and invested more than $23 million for collaborative cancer research. The organization has funded more than 90 innovative research grants with six clinical trials currently underway.
Partnering with SD Film Festival
Curebound is also partnering this year with The San Diego International Film Festival to use film to create conversation about the cancer research taking place in the San Diego community. San Diego has more than 900 life science companies clustered in the region, a large percentage of which work in oncology.
The SDiFF has programmed the film “Of Medicine and Miracles,” a documentary following Dr. Carl June, Dr. Stephan Grupp and the teams at Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia coming together to make medical history with the development of CAR T-cell therapy.
“We see a future in which cancer is prevented, managed, and one day cured. It is our mission to mobilize San Diego to accelerate cures for cancer in our lifetime,” Marbarger said. “We are excited to partner with SDiFF to amplify the storytelling power of film to help further raise awareness of the critical need for collaborative cancer research and together, create a unique conversation with the community.”
According to the SDiFF, “Of Medicine and Miracles” takes the viewer through the way June’s research and work is put to the test when 5-year-old Emily Whitehead, who has run out of options to beat leukemia, becomes the first child to enroll in his experimental trial. The story humanizes the incredible efforts being made in the community to galvanize biotech research institutions to fast track a cure for cancer.
The film is slated to be shown at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21 at AMC UTC 14 (Formerly Arclight Cinemas) and will be available on demand through a virtual platform from Wednesday, Oct. 19 through Sunday Oct. 23.
Curebound expects to next announce its next wave of Targeted Grants, along with the first Cure Prize − a highly anticipated multi-million grant award for innovative, ground-breaking cancer research and care in San Diego − in early 2023.
Targeted Grants are larger gifts of $500,000 for one year, with an option to re-apply for additional funding in subsequent years, that provide follow-on funding to projects that continue the investigators’ previous line of research.
FOUNDED: 2013 as Padres Pedal the Cause (became Curebound in 2021)
CEO: Anne Marbarger
HEADQUARTERS: University Towne Centre
BUSINESS: Nonprofit focused on funding collaborative cancer research
REVENUE: About $10M (2021)
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS: 14
CONTACT: 619-314-5878 or info@Curebound.org
NOTABLE: Since 2013, the organization has raised and invested more than $23 million in collaborative cancer research.